Does the pill make you fat?  What drugs does it interact with?  The gynecologist answers

We shed light on false myths and widespread beliefs about one of the most used contraceptives

Maria Elena Perrero

There birth control pill does it make you fat? Does it cause cellulite? Is it true that if you take it for many years then a pregnancy is more difficult? These are just some of the (false) myths about contraceptive pill. More or less widespread beliefs about a drug that prevents pregnancy and that in Europe, especially in Northern Europe, is widely used, more than in Italy. So let’s try to clarify with Dr. Carlo Gastaldi, gynecologist, head of the Operational Unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the Clinical Institute of the City of Brescia.

Does the pill make you fat?

“No, there birth control pill it does not make you fat, if not very little and in some rare cases. The results of some studies carried out in twelve countries between the United States and Europe were published, in which data relating to patients aged between 20 and 40 years followed for two years were evaluated. From these data it emerged that the weight gain recorded was between 0.1 and 2%. A percentage therefore really negligible “.

Does the pill cause cellulite?

“The question relating to the water retention. The pill may actually favor it, but since there are so many types of pills nowadays, the doctor can customize the prescription by choosing the most suitable drug for the patient. In any case it is good to remember that all the newer pills have a very low dosage of both estrogen and progestogen. There are also pills with the so-called estrogen 17 beta estradiol, an estrogen similar to that naturally produced by the woman’s body, which therefore brings the pill of this type closer to a more natural than synthetic product. In general, however, all the pills today are drastically less strong than those of twenty years ago ”.

Can the pill ruin the skin?

“This ‘myth’ is also false. Conversely, in some cases of acne there birth control pill it can be indicated precisely to reduce it, or to reduce the seborrhea. A different discourse concerns the risk of hyperpigmentation and possible skin spots if you take the sun. But this is the same risk that you have during pregnancy, due to the increased presence of estrogen. It is sufficient to use a sunscreen with a high protective factor (which also protects the skin from the risk of melanoma) to protect yourself from possible skin spots “.

Can the pill negatively affect mood?

“In reality, the pill usually improves the patient’s mood especially in premenstrual phase, since PMS symptoms are alleviated, if not reversed. Also with regard to the libidocases where taking the pill makes it worse are very rare. Usually the woman feels more serene and she is able to appreciate the moments of intimacy more, knowing that she is protected from the risk of an unwanted pregnancy “.

Is it true that you take the pill for years then it is more difficult to get pregnant?

“The effectiveness contraceptive of the pill it stops when the pill is stopped. At that point the cycle resumes the same as it was before starting to take the pill: if it was abundant it goes back to being so, if it is irregular the same. At most there may be a few months of amenorrhea, or absence of a cycle, since the hypothalamus-pituitary axis is partially deceived by the pill, and therefore it takes some time for it to return to function regularly. Only if the patient is very thin or fat during the period of taking the pill could there be a block of menstruation, but this regardless of the pill itself “.

Can stopping the pill when you are no longer young lead to premature menopause?

“This is also false. There are even those who claim that the pill can be used in premenopausal period. After all, replacement therapy in menopause is based on estrogen and progesterone. The use of the pill during the premenopausal phase counteracts the loss of calcium from the bones and the consequent risk of osteoporosis, and eliminates the menstrual irregularities of the premenopausal period “.

What drugs can make the pill less effective?

“Drugs like some antibiotics (e.g. rifampicin), some antiretrovirals such as those used against HIV, some drugs antiepileptics, L’hypericum or St. John’s wort. And be careful if you have had vomiting or diarrhea after taking the pill, because the effectiveness could be compromised ”.

Who Shouldn’t Take The Pill?

“Certainly the big ones smokers, meaning by this term those who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day and, in particular, are over 35 years old. The smokein fact, the risk of possible increases side effects of the pill such as stroke, thromboembolism, blood hypercoagulation, heart problems. The contraceptive pill is also not recommended if you have cardiovascular problems or a family history of thromboemblical problems. It should also be remembered that the pill, in any case, does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, but only from pregnancy ”.

How often should you go for a visit to the gynecoloGo?

“Pill or not, it would be advisable to have a gynecological examination always accompanied by ultrasound once a year, and a PAP test every two years, or get vaccinated against HPV or papillomavirus. I remember that vaccination against HPV should also be done by men, not only by women, since it is precisely the man who transmits the disease to his partner ”.

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